NewsWire Complete Issue

November 6, 2003
By The AVweb Editorial Staff

This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by …

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What's "Silly" In Washington This Week

Military Would Take Control Of ATC?...

While the U.S. Senate mulls over how to deal with the contentious FAA reauthorization bill now in its lap, a House panel is ready to look at a way to avoid all this brouhaha over privatization in the future: take Air Traffic Control away from the FAA, and give it to the Department of Defense. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, is hosting a hearing today to explore the proposal. John Carr, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, called the whole idea "silly" and declined to waste his time testifying at Mica's meeting. "We would rather not meddle with the chairman's misguided military musings," Carr said in a news release Monday. "NATCA is more than willing to testify when the subject matter is serious," Carr said. "But ... this hearing is clearly a partisan stunt designed to threaten, intimidate and silence opposition. No one we have talked to in Washington views this hearing as anything but a bad joke. ... Our military is deployed in critical operations around the world and a subcommittee chairman now wants to use the military as a pawn in this political game-playing." If ATC were to become a military function, it would mean the end of union representation.

...Vote On Funding Bill Expected Any Day...

The FAA reauthorization bill is expected to come up for a vote on the Senate floor sometime this week. For the most part, Republicans are supporting the bill, while Democrats oppose it. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate by three votes. Senators opposed to the bill have been working to stall the showdown, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a vocal opponent of ATC privatization, has threatened a filibuster to delay the vote even further. According to The Hill, an insider newspaper in Washington, Lautenberg plans to read aloud from transcripts of air traffic controllers landing planes in the wake of the terror attacks of 9/11/01, as well as reports of near misses and crashes in countries where towers are privatized. Although reference to contracting out 69 FAA towers was removed from the revised bill now in play, language that would have explicitly protected ATC from privatization also was taken out. If the Senate adjourns without a decision, a continuing resolution would likely be passed to continue FAA funding at current levels until the bill is taken up again when the Senate reconvenes in January.

...NBAA, GAMA, EAA Hope For Swift Passage

Not all aviation lobbyists are in alignment with NATCA's staunch opposition to the FAA bill now in the Senate. NBAA President Shelley Longmuir praised the House for passing the act, and called on the Senate to quickly get it approved. "This legislation provides for a strategic investment in an industry that feeds our national, regional and local economic engines," Longmuir said in a news release last Friday. "Passage of this bill will inject nearly $60 billion of critical and timely investment in the nation's aviation system." The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) also applauded the House vote. "This is a very important and much needed bill. We are glad to see it finally moving forward and we hope the Senate will quickly pass it," said GAMA President Ed Bolen. EAA has also come out in favor of the bill. NBAA said that of particular importance to the general aviation community is the bill's call for increased investment in GA airports, $100 million in aid to GA entities harmed by the events of Sept. 11, and a plan to restore access for all security-qualified GA operators to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). GAMA said it thinks concerns about privatization need to be put in perspective. "Although GAMA strongly opposes privatization, we do not sense any reason to believe privatization will be a possibility throughout the duration of this bill," GAMA said in a news release. "The Bush Administration has never proposed privatization, the FAA Administrator has said the Administration is not pursuing privatization, and the House and Senate are on record opposing privatization. In such an environment, it seems prudent to stop debating the issue and move forward." AOPA spokesman Andy Cebula said in a news release last week that AOPA is "very concerned by the lack of protection for ATC in the compromise bill. We don't want ATC to be turned over to a private company as Canada and the United Kingdom have done. It just opens the door to a user-fee-based system."

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The Permanence Of Temporary Restrictions

Removal Of TFRs Gains Congressional Support...

AOPA this week was heartened that two Congressional representatives from Washington State weighed in on GA's side in the fight to lift security-related "temporary" flight restrictions (TFRs) that have been in place for two years. Reps. Rick Larsen (D) and Jennifer Dunn (R) wrote to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, urging the Department of Defense to re-evaluate the need for four TFRs in the Puget Sound area. "These TFRs cause tremendous operational, access and efficiency problems for pilots," Dunn and Larsen wrote. "The restrictions negatively impact the arrivals and departures into four airports in the region, and have closed a seaplane base. This has also had an adverse economic impact on aviation businesses." In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Defense Department asked for and got 17 TFRs over what the Pentagon considers sensitive military installations around the country. To date, only three of the 17 have been lifted.

...As FAA, AOPA Offer TFR Help

AOPA wrapped up its annual Expo over the weekend, reporting that about 9,400 visitors and 1,550 aircraft came to Philadelphia for the event. One ongoing highlight, AOPA said, was the unveiling of its new online flight-planning program with lots of user-friendly features, including access to current TFR and navaid information. The program, free to AOPA members, allows users to store a pilot profile, two aircraft profiles, and up to five routes. Meanwhile, the FAA has upgraded its own TFR site to be more user-friendly, offering real-time graphical depictions and a choice of views and formats. The site has a list of TFR locations, and clicking on each one will provide a map of the TFR drawn on a sectional chart, along with the text of the Notice to Airmen. As usual, the agency strongly urges pilots to call FAA Flight Service at 1-800-WX-BRIEF (992-7533) for a full briefing before taking off. (AVweb readers who tried to check out the new FAA site last week and couldn't get there apparently ran into an example of the power of online reporting. The site took 16,000 hits in its first hour that morning, the FAA told us. So if you ran into a traffic jam, please try again.)

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Airports Vs. Parks: Florida Wins, Chicago Keeps Trying

Voters in St. Petersburg, Fla., made it clear on Tuesday that they like their little local airport, even preferring it to a proposed waterfront park. Three-quarters of those casting ballots voted to keep Albert Whitted Airport open, often citing fondness for the airport and respect for its historical value as their reasons, according to the St. Petersburg Times. But the vote also reflected a widespread fear that turning the airport into parkland was simply an intermediate step to building yet more condos on the site. Meanwhile, the never-say-die Friends of Meigs are floating a proposal to include -- guess what? -- an airport in the new park planned for Meigs Field. The group says that since the Chicago Park District has asked for public input on the park design, well, here you go. Friends of Meigs has come up with a detailed 32-page plan that includes space for nature trails, picnic areas, fishing and scuba diving, as well as an Air Museum and an operating airport.

Enola Gay Exhibit Incites Protest

A coalition of activists is circulating a petition to protest (again) the exhibit of the Enola Gay bomber, on display at the Smithsonian's new Udvar-Hazy Center, which will open Dec. 15 at Washington Dulles International Airport. The petition protests the "celebratory exhibit," saying it "both legitimizes what happened in 1945 and helps build support for the Bush administration's dangerous new nuclear policies." Although a New York Times report widely published in the media this week said the exhibit text glorifies the airplane "without mentioning that it dropped the bomb on Hiroshima," the text in fact states: "On August 6, 1945, this Martin-built B-29-45-MO dropped the first atomic weapon used in combat on Hiroshima, Japan." The petition, online at the Web site of Peace Action, does not in fact claim that Hiroshima is not mentioned, but says the exhibit emphasizes the airplane's technological achievement and is "devoid of historical context." The Smithsonian's explanatory placard text reads in full:

"Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay -- Boeing's B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated propeller-driven bomber of World War II, and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments. Although designed to fight in the European theater, the B-29 found its niche on the other side of the globe. In the Pacific, B-29s delivered a variety of aerial weapons: conventional bombs, incendiary bombs, mines, and two nuclear weapons. -- On August 6, 1945, this Martin-built B-29-45-MO dropped the first atomic weapon used in combat on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, Bockscar (on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio) dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Enola Gay flew as the advance weather reconnaissance aircraft that day. A third B-29, The Great Artiste, flew as an observation aircraft on both missions."

An exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum from 1995 to 1998 included parts of the Enola Gay fuselage, and drew widespread protest from several quarters. The exhibit was revised several times before finally going on display. The new exhibit will be the first time the airplane has been on display fully restored and completely assembled.

Judge Finds No Patents Infringed In TAWS Case

A federal court ruled last week that Sandel Avionics does not infringe on any of Honeywell's Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) patents, according to a news release from Sandel. Honeywell had alleged that Sandel Avionics Inc. and several other companies infringed Honeywell's patents relating to its Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), Honeywell's version of TAWS. Honeywell filed the case in May 2002. The FAA had earlier issued a mandate requiring most turbine aircraft to install an FAA-certified TAWS by March 29, 2005.

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Chicago-Based Flight School Under Scrutiny

The FAA is conducting a review of the American Flyers flight school at DuPage Airport, and allegedly has found numerous violations, according to a story in Sunday's Chicago Tribune. The Tribune said the FAA has alleged that the school provided incomplete training to clients, manipulated records and allowed ill-prepared students to pass flight exams at its sites in Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, and New York. Don Harrington, owner of the school, told the Tribune that an "overzealous, rogue FAA inspector" was responsible for the allegations. A local TV station, NBC5, later reported that the FAA said it is conducting a review of the school, but no findings have been reported and no action has been taken.

Global Hawk German Test Flights Successful

Test flights in Germany of the USAF Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle wrapped up successfully last week, Northrop Grumman said in a news release. The Global Hawk UAV made several flights over the North Sea, each lasting several hours. Global Hawk was able to detect and identify electromagnetic signals from a variety of sources, including air defense radars. The remotely piloted Global Hawk can range 12,000 nautical miles at up to 65,000 feet, flying for as long as 35 hours. Global Hawk can survey large geographic areas with pinpoint accuracy, to give military decision-makers the most current information about enemy location, resources and personnel, according to the USAF. Once mission parameters are programmed into the UAV, it can autonomously taxi, take off, fly, remain on station capturing imagery, return and land. Ground-based operators monitor UAV health and status, and can change navigation and sensor plans during flight as necessary.

Airport Pays For Fish Malaise

No, it's not a fancy new appetizer or sushi selection. Workers at London's Gatwick Airport recently sudsed down the runways with some harsh cleaning chemicals, and then rinsed it all off with lots of running water. Unfortunately, that toxic water drained into a nearby creek, which flowed into the River Mole, and there set about killing more than 5,200 innocent fish of 14 different species. Apparently that was about three-quarters of the entire fish population in the area. The U.K. Environment Agency brought charges, and then decided that since the highest fine it can levy -- 20,000 pounds -- would be inadequate, bumped the matter upstairs for sentencing in a federal court.

DIAMOND ENGINEERS REDESIGN DA40 PANEL TO OPTIMIZE FORM AND FUNCTION Diamond's DA40 is the platform for the first certified installation of Garmin's new integrated glass panel. The G1000 offers better situational awareness by rolling the functions of conventional panel-mounted instruments into two 10-inch sunlight-readable displays, including digital audio, a WAAS-capable IFR GPS, VHF navigation with ILS and VHF communication, 8.33-kHz-channel spacing, Mode S, solid-state attitude and heading, a digital air data computer and optional weather and terrain data all hooked up to a Bendix/King KAP two-axis autopilot. The jet-style, laser-etched polycarbonate overlay adds the final high-tech touch. For more information on the DA40, and Diamond Aircraft's other innovative aircraft designs, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/diamond

On The Fly...

A pilot was killed when his Korean War-era jet, a 1953 T-33 Silver Star, crashed and burned in a trailer park in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Sunday...

Carter Aviation Technologies has been awarded its first contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to support development of Carter's next-generation propeller and rotor...

The 2004 Asian Aerospace show, coming up in Singapore in February, expects bigger-than-ever crowds, reflecting an upturn in airline biz...

Embry-Riddle's Wings and Waves air show and homecoming events is this week in Daytona Beach, Fla....

Half of Boeing's new 7E7 jetliner will be built of composites, and only 15 percent of aluminum, Reuters reported on Monday.

AVweb's AVscoop Award...

Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Josh Timms, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. Rules and information are at http://www.avweb.com/contact/newstips.html.

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New Articles and Features on AVweb

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BRAINTEASERS
Quiz #74 -- Hold, Circle, and Yield Right-of-Way
Flight opens the entire world to your imagination, so imagine yourself in the IFR-meets-VFR real world where you have to know what the other pilots are up to.

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AVweb's Picture Of The Week...

*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Bruce Cooke, of Cambridge, New Zealand. His picture titled "Recreational RV" captures a RV4 as it prepares to taxi at the Waihi Beach airstrip in beautiful New Zealand. Bruce tells us this photo was taken during a NZ Sport Aircraft Association Fly-In. As you can see, sport aviation is alive and well down under. Great picture, Bruce! Your AVweb hat is on the way.

To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to http://www.avweb.com/potw

Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.

*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***


Click here to view a medium-size version of this image
Click here to view a large version of this image

AVweb continues to receive a large number of excellent images for our POTW contest. Here are some of the runners-up. Click on the links below to view a larger version.

" A B-17 Bombardiers view of the South Florida coast line"
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Large

" Setting fall sun over West Virginia"
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AVweb's Question Of The Week...

*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

We received over 300 responses to our question last week on panel-mounted GPS units. The vast majority (72 percent) of respondents welcome a higher level of standardization between brands, especially of the basic GPS functions needed for VFR and IFR navigation. About 10 percent of those responding normally use only the Direct To mode, while 9 percent felt transitioning from one GPS to another has always been easy for them, regardless of brand.

To check out the complete results, or to respond to this week's question, go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw.

*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***

This week, we would like to know your thoughts on the aircraft AVweb readers fly.

Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to qotw@avweb.com. Note, this address is ONLY for suggested QOTW questions, and NOT for QOTW answers.

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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We Welcome Your Feedback!

AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#mgrady
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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